All kinds of shoes have trod the streets of Nicosia over the decades. Peaceful, hostile, curious, transitory, permanent, reconciliatory… And throughout its checkered history, the city has brought together innovators of all kinds.
In its most recent decades, such innovators have been drawn from civil society.
Peace Exchange hosts UNDP-ACT’s Christopher Louise this week, who offers a suggestion on why Cyprus is perfectly positioned to leverage civil society peace efforts for the benefit of the wider region.
Civil society in Cyprus has been able to change the dynamics of the island’s conflict and the relationship between the two communities in the last few decades.
The future role of Cypriot civil society in pushing for peace on the island will depend on the ability to sustain a pluralistic political narrative and press for progress in both national and international fora.
Considering the United Kingdom’s central role in efforts to resolve the Cyprus conflict, this will be a prime opportunity to elevate the critical role of civil society in peacemaking to the international level.
Later this year (October 9-11, 2012), civil society leaders from Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and the Arab states will meet at an inter-regional conference in the UN Buffer Zone in Nicosia to exchange experiences and ideas on how civil society can contribute to post-conflict and other complex transitions.
But why a Cyprus summit, and why now?
Put simply, UNDP’s local civil society partners want to tap the island’s potential as a cultural and geographical crossroads between Europe and the Arab world.
Meanwhile, Cyprus continues to play host to one of UNDP’s most concentrated and long-serving civil society-strengthening programmes, resonating with the current priorities for the role of civil society in the two regions:
So, where can we find the civil society innovators to make contributions to the inter-regional conference? What can Cypriot civil society learn from other countries in the two regions? How can inter-regional efforts bolster and support local efforts?
The Peace it Together Network welcomes all ideas!
Peace Exchange thanks Christopher, and will of course update you on all related developments as they arise.
Until next time, stay tuned, and… see you in the next post!